Date of birth: 21 November 1996
Place of residence: Nabi Saleh
Date of arrest: 23 January 2011
After spending nearly three months in prison, Islam was released and placed under house arrest for over a year.
Islam Dar Ayyoub was arrested in the early hours of 23 January, when the Israeli forces entered his house at 2 a.m., asking for him. He had already been arrested earlier that month and held for several hours at Halamish settlement before being released. The family’s house had also been targeted twice that month for ‘mapping’ by the Israeli forces: an operation in which soldiers enter the house in the middle of the night, wake up its inhabitants and take photographs and ID numbers of all the men and children living there. On this occasion, Islam had thought the army had come to arrest his older brother, Omar, but instead the Israeli army forced Islam onto the ground and applied plastic handcuffs, without giving an explanation for his arrest. When his family tried to stop the soldiers, they were all beaten. Islam was blindfolded and taken by military jeep to Halamish settlement. He was without shoes and thrown to the ground and left there for several hours, all the time not knowing where he was.
At approximately 9.30am he was driven to the police station at Ma’ale Adumim settlement for interrogation, but was not informed of where he was being taken.
Whilst under interrogation at the police station Islam was threatened with electric shock treatment or attacks by dogs. Video footage of his interrogation shows Islam tired and being threatened and shouted at by three officers, leading him to break down in tears at one point. His lawyer appeared at the police station but the Head of Interrogation of Judea and Samaria gave the order not to give him access as, according to him, Islam was beginning to admit to accusations and incriminate others, and the lawyer’s presence may ‘compromise the interrogation’. During his interrogation Islam was not informed of his right to remain silent nor of his right to seek legal counsel. It was only after approximately five hours of interrogation that he was allowed to see his lawyer who was waiting outside. By this time, he had already signed a statement in Hebrew on the understanding that if he did so his family would come and collect him and take him home. The statement, which he did not understand, incriminated Bassem and Naji Tamimi, two of the key protest organizers from Nabi Saleh. After signing the statement iron handcuffs were applied to him and he was taken by military car to Ofer detention center. After spending 3 days at Ofer, Islam was brought before a Military Judge. He was charged with stone-throwing. Islam then spent three months in detention at Rimonim before being released and placed under house arrest at his home in Nabi Saleh on a 5,000 shekel bail and a 5,000 shekel third party guarantee (equivalent to almost $3,000). For the first few months under house arrest, he was not allowed to go to school or leave the house, but any further restrictions such as reporting periodically to the police or being available for phone calls from them were successfully challenged by Islam’s lawyer. He was eventually permitted to attend school in September.
In the trial-within-a-trial procedure, Islam’s lawyer challenged the admissibility of the evidence against Islam on the grounds of not being granted access to a lawyer or family member for 5 hours, during which time he was subjected to ill treatment. At Ofer Court on 16 May, expert opinions were submitted by former Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak related to the treatment of child detainees in accordance with the UN Convention on Torture, and by a child psychologist who detailed the effect of detention on minors. However, these were rejected by the Military Judge in concurrence with objections made by the Prosecution on the grounds that experts must appear in court in person to testify. As a result, both experts agreed to testify before the end of Islam’s trial. On 4 July, the child psychologist’s expert opinion was heard by the court, during which time the military judge also asked the psychologist to comment on the video recording of Islam’s interrogation. Islam’s lawyer also appeared as a witness, having passed his legal duties in Court to another lawyer, and testified about the denial of access to his client for 5 hours and the condition he found Islam in when they finally met. On 9 January 2012, the military judge denied the motion to rule his confession inadmissible, commenting that though he agreed his rights were violated, he did not believe the infringement on Islam’s rights would endanger his right to a fair trial.
Islam remained under house arrest for many months during his trial. He has also appeared in court as a witness in the trial of Bassem Tamimi. On 28 November 2011, he was on the witness stand for almost five hours, during which he recanted the statement he signed when he was interrogated, saying he was forced to give the confession under extreme pressure. On the same day, the Military Prosecutor also used the protocol from Islam’s own ongoing trial, despite not having shared this with the Defense beforehand.
As of September 2012, Islam’s trial continues. However, recent trial proceedings show a lack of interest by the prosecution to continue with his case, further revealing that the primary objective was to use Islam and other minors to incriminate the protest leaders and an intent to disregard them now that Naji and Bassem’s trials have been resolved.
CONDITIONS OF DETENTION
Whilst Islam was at Ofer, he shared a cell only with children, but nevertheless found himself in the presence of adult prisoners when they spent time outside the cells. Islam then spent three months in detention at Rimonim before being released and placed under house arrest at his home in Nabi Saleh on 5,000 NIS bail and 5,000 NIS third party guarantee (equivalent to almost $3,000). At Rimonim, Islam describes the conditions as very poor. Water was scarce so he was only able to wash himself once a week, and the food was of very bad quality and tasted as if it had been contaminated. Under house arrest, he is not allowed to go to school or leave the house, but any further restrictions such as reporting periodically to the police or being available for phone calls from them were successfully challenged by Islam’s lawyer.
Two of Islam’s brothers were also detained around the same period, in a clear effort by the Israeli army to target as many inhabitants of Nabi Saleh as possible due to their involvement in weekly protests against the illegal settlements. Only two days after Islam’s arrest, his 11-year-old brother Karim was hauled into a vehicle by Israeli border police who had entered the village. Karim was taken to a police station in Jerusalem and interrogated for several hours before being released. On 27 January Islam’s older brother Omar, 24 years old, was arrested in another raid on the village. He has since been convicted of replacing an Israeli flag with a Palestinian one near Nabi Saleh, and sentenced to one year imprisonment.
NABI SALEH: UNDER ATTACK
The arrest of Islam is part of a systematic attempt by Israel to silence the popular resistance movement in the village of Nabi Saleh, which has been active since December 2009. Since the beginning of weekly demonstrations protesting Israel’s expansionist policies and the creeping confiscation of their lands by the nearby Halamish settlement, the 500 residents of Nabi Saleh have been subjected to arrests, regular night raids by Israeli forces, forced curfews and the use of new weaponry targeting the protestors. Arrests take place on a weekly basis, often in the middle of the night and often targeting minors. As of the end of 2011, approximately 80 people had been arrested on protest-related suspicions; at least 20 arrests occurred in the first three months of 2011, and half of these were minors. Children are the regular target of arrests by Israeli forces as the trauma of interrogation, especially in the middle of the night, often leads them to sign confessions under duress or in the belief that they will be released if they do so. These confessions are then used to incriminate the protest leaders, who are also subsequently arrested.